By Jason Trail, Executive Director, and Melissa Sweeney, Senior Business Analyst, Plantensive
Jan. 8, 2024

Have you ever wondered exactly what a floorplan is and how it can work for you?

A floorplan is a merchandise layout that provides an overview of how products are displayed, grouped, and flowed throughout a store. Often referred to as “macro space planning,” a floorplan is a bird’s-eye view of the store that shows exactly where groups of products are placed.

In the ever-evolving landscape of retail, companies are placing greater focus on macro space planning to maximize sales and profits in each location. A floorplan not only helps to realize the potential of each location, but also provides a way to communicate merchandising directions to ensure consistent and accurate execution.

Floorplans enable retailers to make the most of their stores by allocating the right amount of space to each product category based on its significance, sales volume, and customer demand, and placing it in the right spot.

With the rising costs of overhead for managing retail locations, it’s essential to make each square foot of the store as profitable as possible. However, floorplans are often an overlooked asset.

Floorplans can fulfill a few significant functions. By making floorplans a part of their category management strategy, retailers can achieve optimal space utilization. Floorplans support fact-based decisions by providing data to conduct analysis at the store, department, and product group levels. Leveraging this data helps to achieve the most profitable and productive allocation of space.

The design of a floorplan can either enhance the customer’s experience or leave them frustrated. A disorganized or confusing layout that does not consider your customers’ shopping habits can lead a customer to believe that an item is unavailable. Ultimately, that costly mistake will result in lost sales and will potentially drive the customer to a competitor. A well-executed floorplan will make products easy to find while directing customer traffic to encourage additional purchases through thoughtful adjacencies.

An effective floorplan will increase the productivity of store personnel or merchandisers. By providing direction for placement, product resets can be implemented more efficiently. This also helps to create a consistent experience in each store location.

Used in conjunction with product group schematics, or planograms, information from store-specific floorplans can communicate the exact location of a product. This is valuable for in-store customers using online store maps, and store shoppers fulfilling online orders.

When developing floorplans, it’s important to consider your expected outputs to determine the appropriate inputs. Here are five important questions to answer before creating floorplans.

1. How detailed will the floorplan be?

  • Will the plan contain all merchandising directions?
  • Will the plan be used to provide fixture information for ordering?
  • Will the plan be the current record of fixture locations in the store or will other plans hold all non-merchandise direction?

2. Is the floorplan just a representation of a store or is it location-specific?

  • Cluster or store-level

3. How will the information contained in the floorplan be communicated to business partners?

  • What data fields are needed for communication and reporting?
  • What kinds of reports are needed?

4. Has Space Productivity been considered to determine the allocation of space in the store?

  • Sales/profit per square foot
  • Sales/profit per linear foot
  • Inventory turns

5. What are your merchandising guidelines?

  • Preferred placement in the store
  • Required adjacencies
  • Fixture type requirements

To get the most from your floorplans, it is essential to start with good information. One of the most important factors when beginning a floorplan program is having an accurate representation of the current store layout, and providing a mechanism for stores to provide feedback when the floorplan does not match real-world conditions. This is key to developing a successful plan. Without this knowledge, historical metrics can be misleading, which can have a significant impact on product and category performance decisions. Utilizing past sales data and market research can help to identify top-selling products, customer preferences, and emerging trends. This information will help determine the appropriate allocation of space and product placement.

As more retailers focus on maximizing the ROI of their selling space within each store, the floorplan will become a valuable tool to help guide merchandising decisions, customer traffic, and even capital expenditures for resets, remodels, and new store development.

Category management floorplans are an integral part of retail strategy, helping retailers optimize their product assortment and enhance the shopping experience. By understanding the fundamentals of floorplans and implementing effective layouts, retailers can drive sales, improve customer satisfaction, and stay ahead in a competitive market.

About Plantensive: Plantensive, a MorganFranklin company, is a supply chain and retail planning solutions provider to many Fortune 500 and mid-market companies across the consumer-packaged goods, distribution, manufacturing, and retail industries. Plantensive provides end-to-end supply chain solutions and proven tools to accelerate value by building, implementing, and optimizing dynamic, reliable supply chain solutions aligned with business strategies. For more information visit plantensive.com.